Who is on our side?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am a small Jamaican business owner and I am writing to express my frustration with the rash of Chinese businesses that have taken over this country.
Chinese business people who come to Jamaica to invest, get tax-free status for five years, and I imagine that after this time, they would be required to pay taxes like Jamaican nationals operating businesses here. Instead, what seems to happening after these five years is that they are allowed to bring in another family member from China, change the business name and proceed to operate the same business at the same location.
I would like to know whether these businesses are being monitored and tracked, and who, if anyone, is responsible for doing this tracking. Why are so many of these businesses that are operated by the latest wave of Chinese immigrants being left to simply change their names after five years and flout the rules of the land?
Another problem is that these specially treated class of business people do not speak English, but they give advice on the application rate of unfamiliar chemicals and pesticides labelled in Chinese, to customers.
I cannot compete with so-called 'foreign Chinese investors' who get away with paying no taxes when I have to pay taxes. I cannot compete because I employ only Jamaican workers in my business, but I do not get a five-year tax break. I am sure that GCT payments are required from ALL businesses operating in Jamaica, but I have been observing that products that attract GCT are not being so charged at Chinese owned establishments. I know this because it would be impossible to sell goods at the prices the Chinese charge.
So, I repeat, where is the monitoring agency for the practices of the Chinese business community - surely, the Consumer Affairs Commission has a role to play if customers don't get detailed bills for purchased goods.
It would be interesting to know whether government is going to stand idly by and allow more genuine Jamaican small businesses to close their doors out of frustration and unfair competition.